Lost Lear



A moving and darkly comic remix of Shakespeare’s play told from the point of view of Joy, a person with dementia, who is living in an old memory of rehearsing ‘King Lear’. Joy’s delicately maintained reality is upended by the arrival of her estranged son who, being cast as Cordelia, must find a way to speak his piece from within the limited role he’s given.

Using puppetry, projection and live video effects, the audience are landed in Joy’s world as layers of her past and present, fiction and reality, overlap and distort.

‘Lost Lear’ is a thought provoking meditation on theatre, artifice and the possibility of communicating across the chasms between us.

Reviews + Awards

Irish Times Theatre Awards nominee:
– “Best New Play”
– “Audience Choice”
– “Best Supporting Actor”
– “Best Video Design”

“Devastating stuff, deftly done…Colley is a theatre maker of remarkable imagination and insight” 
– The Stage ★★★★★

“Brilliantly conceived and executed…a remarkable achievement” 
– Irish Examiner ★★★★★ 

“Bravely visits painful places to tenderly illuminate them” 
– The Arts Review ★★★★★

“In a role demanding a wide physical and emotional range…Bowe is remarkable”
– Irish Mail on Sunday ★★★★

Quite extraordinary…an absolute must see.”
– Radio New Zealand


Lost Lear was co-produced by Riverbank Arts Centre and Mermaid Arts Centre. Funded by the Arts Council | An Chomhairle Ealaíon and supported by Fishamble: The New Play Company’s New Play Clinic and Abbey Theatre’s ENGINE ROOM

Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge (preview)
Dublin Theatre Festival, Project Arts Centre (premiere)
Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray

Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge
The Everyman Theatre, Cork
Westival, Westport
The Town Hall Theatre, Galway
Project Arts Centre, Dublin
The Hawkswell, Sligo
The Ramor, Cavan
Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray
Draíocht Arts Centre, Blanchardstown
The Civic Theatre, Tallaght

Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts, Wellington


Joy Venetia Bowe
Conor Peter Daly
Liam Manus Halligan
Ensemble Clodagh O’Farrell & Em Ormonde

Written by Dan Colley, with the cast, after Shakespeare
Directed by Dan Colley
Produced by Matthew Smyth

Music by Daniel McAuley
Set Design  Andrew Clancy
Lighting Design  Suzie Cummins
Costume Design  Cherie White
Sound Design  Kevin Gleeson
Video Design  Ross Ryder
Dramaturgy Gavin Kostick
Assistant Direction Joy Nesbitt

Stage Manager Evie McGuinness
Assistant Stage Manager Sarah Purcell
Chief LX Adrian Moylan
Chief AV Laura Rainsford
Production Manager Eoin Kilkenny
Graphic Designer Sarah Moloney
Lead image Photographer Pato Cassinoni
Production Photographer Ste Murray